UN Commission Finds Crimes Against Humanity in Sudan; Urges International Court Action
A United Nations-appointed commission released a report earlier this week that found that the pattern of atrocities in the Sudan did not constitute acts of genocide committed by the government, but instead found the government guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The commission is urging the Security Council to refer the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC), instead of an ad hoc tribunal like the United States is proposing. While the commission did not find evidence of an organized governmental act of genocide, it did state that it is up to a competent court to decide if there is evidence of government officials committing acts with “genocidal intent.”
The commission’s report documents atrocities committed primarily against Darfur’s black African tribes. The commission charged the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed (Arab militia) of committing murder, torture, kidnapping, rape, forced displacement and the destruction of villages, reports the Washington Post. More than 70,000 people have been killed due to the violence and more than 1.8 million have been driven from their homes.
The United Nations, European governments, human rights and women’s rights advocates want the case in Darfur to be brought before the ICC. The ICC identifies gender crimes as crimes against humanity. Ninety-four countries have fully ratified the treaty establishing the ICC. The United States is currently the only industrialized country that has not signed the treaty due to its fear that Americans could be tried before it.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .